KLM Giving Budget Airline Passengers A Virtual Upgrade

Flying economy class can be a miserable experience. Crammed in like a sardine, sitting for hours on uncomfortable seats, forced to pay outrageous fees for the luxury of having actual luggage. Dutch airline KLM are using virtual reality (VR) to improve the flying experience for budget airline passengers, and get in some sneaky advertising.

KLM, who are part of the Air France-KLM group, have been distributing inexpensive VR headsets to passengers waiting to board flights in budget airlines at JFK New York airport. The headsets offer those passengers a ‘virtual upgrade’, where users can see what their flight might have been like had they chosen KLM as their carrier.

The VR app shows users the sort of things offered aboard a KLM flight, such as free newspapers, on-flight entertainment, an attentive cabin crew that serve a full meal of the sort rarely offered on budget flights.

Passengers can watch a full episode of one of the TV shows offered as part of KLM’s entertainment packages, or ten minutes of a blockbuster movie. Users can spend as much time as they wish inside the VR simulation, pretending they are aboard a far more expensive flight.

Air France recently announced its own budget airline, Joon, targeted at younger passengers. For those who wish to escape the reality of budget air travel, the KLM Flight Upgrader app is available from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The KLM cardboard headsets are also available in limited quantities from the KLM website, branded with the amusing slogan ‘Do Not Disturb – Pretending to fly KLM’.

VRFocus will continue to report on new developments in the VR industry.